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URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A Champaign man has been arraigned on a first-degree murder charge in the slaying of a 14-year-old boy whose body was found last week in a roadside ditch.
Daryl Vandyke 55, told a Champaign County judge on Tuesday he understood his rights and the charges he faces in Steven Butler III’s killing. A public defender was appointed to represent Vandyke, whose initial court hearing on Monday was post- poned after he appeared confused and unresponsive. Vandyke is accused of repeatedly striking Butler with an axe or other edged tool on July 29, knowing that his acts would kill the teen, The (Champaign) News- Gazette reported.
He faces 20 to 60 years in prison if he’s convicted of murder. His next court hearing is Sept. 14.
Butler’s father reported him missing to police on the night of July 29, hours after he left the family home, purportedly to mow a lawn.
Butler’s body was found by two cyclists on July 30 in a roadside ditch east of Urbana.
Champaign police said it’s believed the killing took place on Vandyke’s property, less than a mile from where the boy lived with his father and two siblings in Champaign.
Prosecutors have said Butler died from blunt-force injuries and that Vandyke is an acquaintance of the boy’s father.